Record-setting Expansion: SK Hynix Begins to Run World’s Largest Semiconductor Factory | BusinessKorea

Friday, September 30, 2016

The M14 semiconductor factory built by SK Hynix at its Icheon Headquarters.
The M14 semiconductor factory built by SK Hynix at its Icheon Headquarters.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
26 August 2015 - 11:15am
Michael Herh

On Aug. 25, SK Hynix held a ceremony in honor of the completion of the M14, the world’s largest semiconductor factory in its headquarters in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do. The ceremony was held under the theme of “Great Challenge to Create a Better Future,” with the participation of 400 VIPs including Chey Tae-won, chairman of the SK Group, Yun Sang-jik, the minister of trade, industry and energy, and Nam Kyung-pil, governor of Gyeonggi-do.

M14 is a semiconductor factory for 300 mm wafers, and the first new factory built by SK Hynix in Icheon in 18 years. The site of the factory is 53,000 square meters, which equals the size of 7.5 football fields. The new factory boasts the world’s largest single clean room building, which has a total floor space of 66,000 square meters and has a monthly production capacity of 200,000 wafers.

SK Hynix will begin to produce memory semiconductors with the world’s strongest competitiveness at the cutting-edge factory. A total of 15 trillion won (US$12.6 billion) will be invested in this factory, which will secure a monthly production capacity of 300,000 by the end of this year.

On the day, the company also unveiled a plan to build two more semiconductor factories in addition to M14 by investing a total of 46 trillion won (US$38.7 billion) in this future vision. A total of 15 trillion won will go into M14 and 31 trillion won (US$31 billion) into the two additional factories. Therefore, SK Hynix will build three new factories in total in the next ten years.

The recent advancement of the ICT environment has steadily fueled demand for semiconductors, and a global race is getting hotter to preoccupy markets. In addition, the toughening of segmentation to enhance production cost and product competitiveness is leading to an increase in the number of processes and the expansion of the size of equipment. This change is calling to scale up production capacities such as spaces for semiconductor production.

At the moment, things are tough in the semiconductor market because of a drop in DRAM prices, but SK Hynix is planning to quickly respond to market changes, such as the expansion of its production base, with the aim of taking its leadership in the semiconductor industry. The company is planning to build a new plant in Icheon, Gyeonggi-do and another in Cheongju, Chungcheong-buk-do.  Therefore, they will began ground work in Icheon next year and secure a new site in Cheongju this year. 

The Economic Research Center at Seoul National University estimated that sales generated by the M14 plant will create economic effects of 55 trillion won (US$46 billion) and create 210,000 jobs in the national economy. Moreover, the center expects investment in M14 to bring about production effects of 5.1 trillion won (US$4.3 billion) and give 59,000 people jobs. SK Hynix expects that massive investment in the two new factories will create economic effects three times as much as the investment into M14. SK Hynix is planning on contributing to enhancing Korea’s national competitiveness and promoting the Korean economy by successfully building new factories through close cooperation with the central and local governments in the future.

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